The Arizona Fall League “Fall Star” game may have been on Saturday, but even a couple days later there are a few numbers that pop off the page from Blue Jays prospects who participated.
We don’t have any Blue Jays baseball to watch these days, but thankfully some of the exciting prospects in the minor league system are giving us plenty to talk about.
The Arizona Fall League is still providing baseball to watch for those hardcore fans who are already missing the game, and for a trio of Blue Jays’ prospects things have been going pretty well. In fact, the AFL held their “Fall Stars” game on Saturday, and three Blue Jays were invited including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Nate Pearson, and Cavan Biggio.
Each young man brings a lot to the table at this stage of their careers, but there were a couple of numbers that jumped off the page to me after Saturday’s contest. We can talk about batting averages, home runs, or strikeouts all we want, but as MLB front offices focus more on the advanced numbers, perhaps we should do the same. (not that I’ll ever claim to be a stat guru)
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Starting with Vlad Jr, he’s already made a name for himself for the poise he shows at the plate, and the sheer ferocity with which he attacks a pitch that’s to his liking. As a 19 year old, he terrorized Double-A and Triple-A pitching all season long, and he’s been a man among boys during AFL play as well.
As impressive as the chase for a .400 average was, one of his at bats in Saturday’s game may have brought the most excitement yet, at least to me. Guerrero laced a pitched off the left field wall, picking up a double and advancing to third as the defence struggled to get the ball in. The base-running was impressive, but what really caught my eye was that he hit the ball at a whopping 117 MPH. This isn’t something new for the teenage phenom, as he made a routine of breaking the triple digit mark all season long, but he absolutely laced this pitch. If you need any more evidence, have a listen to the video.
As he said, there’s just something special about the way the ball sounds coming off Guerrero’s bat, and he’s only going to get better.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Nate Pearson put some pretty staggering numbers up on the board of his own. Unfortunately he allowed a home run in his appearance, but he regularity threw his fastball in triple digits as well, and he peaked at an absolutely ridiculous 104 miles per hour. There are only a handful of men in the entire world that can throw a baseball that fast, and one of them is a prospect in the Blue Jays farm system.
Pearson is going to have to do more than throw hard to be successful at the highest level, and he learned that when a 103 MPH fastball ended up in the bleachers on Saturday. However, the ability to throw that hard is an asset that very few pitchers possess, and with a little massaging it’s going to be a pretty dominant weapon for the 22 year old.
So while it’s a little depressing to think about the Blue Jays entering a rebuild and taking a step back from realistic playoff pursuits next season, the talent that’s on the way from the minor league system should provide plenty of solace. These kids are pretty unbelievable.